Stormwater Compliance: Industrial General Permit

August 16, 2017



This is part one of a two-part series on storm water compliance. Storm water is regulated in the United States by the Clean Water Act (CWA). The initial purpose of the CWA was to regulate waste discharge from factories and municipal sewage treatment plants (point sources). It accomplished this by requiring dischargers to obtain National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.


NPDES permits restrict the types and amounts of pollutants a facility can discharge. Storm water was originally exempted with other “non-point” sources. However, in 1977 the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) prevailed in a suit brought against the EPA in in the D.C. Circuit Court. The judgement forced the EPA to include Storm water pollution regulation and enforcement. The ruling included language that would allow NPDES permits to be written to allow multiple entities to apply for coverage under umbrella permits for specific activities. In California, the Industrial General Permit (2014-0057-DWQ) is the umbrella permit that applies to industrial activities.


Below is a brief run-down of the obligation to apply for coverage under the Industrial General Permit (IGP).


The New General Industrial Stormwater Permit went into effect on July 1, 2015

If you are involved in any of the following industries as your primary business activity, you need to enroll for coverage under the new Industrial General Permit through the State Water Board SMARTS website.

  • Cement Manufacturing

  • Fertilizer Manufacturing

  • Petroleum Refining

  • Phosphate Manufacturing

  • Steam Electric

  • Coal Mining

  • Mineral Mining and Processing

  • Ore Mining and Dressing

  • Asphalt Emulsion

  • Airport Deicing

  • Manufacturing Facilities (SICs 20XX-39XX, 4221-4225)

  • Oil and Gas/Mining Facilities (SICs 10XX-14XX)

  • Hazardous Waste Treatment, Storage, Or Disposal Facilities (TSDFs)

  • Landfills, Land Application Sites, And Open Dumps

  • Recycling Facilities (SICs 5015-5093)

  • Steam Electric Power Generating Facilities

  • Transportation Facilities (SICs 40XX-45XX (except 4221-25) and 5171)

  • Sewage or Wastewater Treatment Works

Do you meet any exemptions?

There are two types of exemptions to this permit:

  1. No Exposure Certification (NEC)

    • To receive NEC coverage, you must demonstrate that no processes or materials will be exposed to stormwater or runoff at your facility. These types of facilities have all material storage and industrial procedures housed indoors permanently.

  2. Notice of Non-Applicability (NONA).

    • NONA coverage is available for facilities that do not discharge to surface waters, to receive this coverage an engineer must create a report that shows that even in the most extreme storm event, your facility will contain all discharge on site.

What do you need to do?

If your facility engages in a covered industrial activity and you do not meet either of the exemptions you must:

  • Apply for permit coverage through the State Water Board SMARTS website.

  • Enroll as a discharger and submit a Notice of Intent (NOI)

  • Prepare and submit a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) including a Site Plan. A SWPPP is a document in which dischargers select the Best Management Practices (BMPs) that apply to their operation and describe how they will be implemented at the facility.

Once you have applied for permit coverage you will need to:

  • Conduct monthly visual inspections of all property, focusing on outdoor storage areas and discharge points.

  • Evaluate each drainage area for signs of deficiencies in BMPs and for non-stormwater discharges1.

  • Each facility must collect and analyze stormwater samples for pollutants. If rain is forecasted for your area be prepared to collect a stormwater sample, coordinate with an analytical laboratory to provide sample collection bottles and train staff on proper collection techniques.

  • During a rain event inspect your discharge points to determine if your facility is producing discharge. If no discharge is leaving your property, document that although you experienced rain, your facility did not discharge, keep a record to document these types of events.

  • If your facility does produce discharge, collect the sample in the appropriate bottle and measure the pH of the sample (this must be done in the field, not by the laboratory). Once the sample is collected, label sample bottles and deliver to lab within 24 hours (some labs have a courier service available). A sampling event visual observation form must be completed when a sample is collected. Analytical results must be uploaded by the discharger to SMARTS within 30 days of receiving the results.


Facilities under this permit are required to collect and analyze stormwater samples from two storm events between July and December, and two storm events between January and June.


If samples have not been collected or analyzed during these sampling periods, documentation must be provided to demonstrate that the facility did not experience storm events that produced sufficient discharge, that the storm events did not meet criteria (did not occur within operating hours or were not proceeded by 48 hours of no discharge), or that it was unsafe to collect samples.


Facilities covered under this permit are required to prepare and submit an Annual Report to the SMARTS website annually on July 15th.  These reports include a review of the documentation kept at the facility in relation to compliance with the Industrial General Permit.


1.Non-stormwater discharges are any discharges that are not associated with stormwater, these can be authorized or unauthorized. Examples of authorized non-stormwater discharge are fire hydrants, irrigation drainage, air conditioning or compressor condensate. Unauthorized non-stormwater discharges must be recorded with a plan of corrective action; examples include water generated by rinsing or washing of vehicles/equipment/building/pavement, hazardous materials spills, or industrial process water.


If you need more help complying with Stormwater- Industrial General Permit regulations, contact us at or call me at 619-379-1457


Standard disclaimer:

This blog / website is made available by the environmental professionals at Rely Environmental for educational purposes only as well as to provide general information and understanding of various environmental regulatory requirements. This blog article should not be considered as a professional service or legal advice. By using this blog / website you acknowledge it does not constitute a professional service. This blog / website should not be used as a substitute for competent professional services.

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